Pune: Starting your own business is a risk which not many are willing to take, especially during a pandemic when people are losing their jobs and companies are shutting down. At a time of global crisis such as this, Savi Chaulkar, a self-taught baker from Pune, whose goal is to one day open a bakery of her own, decided to start a business at home. Inspired by other homemakers, Savi started baking regularly and started selling cakes and pastries.
When asked why she chose to start a business during a pandemic, she said “I was planning to open ‘Frosty Sins’ once the threat of Covid had died down. By the end of 2020 it seemed like the situation was under control”. In November of 2020 Savi’s ‘Frosty Sins’ was officially launched. In order to boost her client base, Savi held bake sales almost every week, along with taking orders for various celebrations. The news of her business spread quickly through word- of-mouth, and within two months she was getting at least three orders a week. With hands-on experience in baking, she was learning to bake different types of cakes and experimenting with them. Since all orders were home deliveries, pick-up and drop of the cakes had to be done with the help of external delivery services. In the first four months, the profit was more than 10,000 rupees. The business was doing well, and consistently getting orders, so Savi planned to make additions to the menu and even expand ‘Frosty Sins.’
A fresh strawberry cake, made from scratch by Savi.
In April of 2021, COVID cases were back at an all-time high in Maharashtra and the State Government issued a strict curfew wherein only shops providing essential services and food deliveries were allowed to function. Consequently, most shops had to be shut down making it difficult for Savi to buy the ingredients for cake and baking materials. Adding to the inaccessibility of getting resources there was the risk of delivering the orders. As a result ‘Frosty Sins’ had to stop taking orders. Savi explained that building a strong clientele is difficult in her field of work, despite which she was able to gain clients early in the business.
Savi with one of her first orders at Frosty Sins.
Savi said, “If this lockdown was not imposed, if the country was in a better condition than it is right now, my business would have been even more successful.” The impact of the lockdown is greater on newer businesses such as ‘Frosty Sins,’ as compared to home-businesses that have been there for at least a couple of years, owing to the difference in the client base and ability to deliver the orders.
Asked what can be done to help home-business owners like her, she said “I feel that there should be an app where home-businesses can register themselves to reach out to a bigger clientele and people should promote such businesses because there is a level of trust that is built when you know the person who is making and delivering your food”. There are many home-businesses such as Savi's which have been badly hit and undergone tremendous losses. For businesses such as Savi’s to survive, it requires the help and encouragement of the citizens in order for them to be back on their feet.